Building a strong brand, especially with a shoestring budget, can be difficult for even the most seasoned entrepreneur. However, the capabilities with which small business owners can craft a consistent and easily-recognizable brand have only multiplied with the advent of social media and other networking and marketing methods.
Invest on web presence. No matter the size of your business or what you do, no company can afford not to have an active and visible presence online. Since the cost of developing and maintaining a website is so low, you simply must have one to serve as the face of your business. The vast majority of your customers and clients will turn to your website to find out more about you, before they make any other contact with your company. For this reason it is vital that you make a strong first impression with your website.
Utilize social media. Now more than ever people are turning to the Internet to find solutions. If you can be where those customers are looking, you will increase both awareness and sales. However, the number of social media vehicles seems to be multiplying daily. As a result, it may take some trial and error or the advice of an expert to find which social media vehicles your customers are using most. This way you can target your messages specifically to those customers.
Be consistent. One of the oldest tenets of brand building is creating a brand that is consistent across both the messages you send to customers as well as the mediums through which you send them. The primary reason for this is awareness and recognize-ability. If someone receives a direct mail card from your company, they are much less likely to trash it if it looks like it comes from a reputable source, or a source they recognize. Keeping exposure to your brand consistent will make it more easily recognizable and will help avoid confusion.
Give value. A great way to get buy-in from your customers is to actively provide value to them, not only through the products and services you provide, but through every interaction with your organization. Consider giving away free samples, or providing customers with free informational materials. Although it may seem silly to give something away for free, you can bet that it will pay off in the long run. It has been well-studied that giving something to someone makes them want to give something in return.